The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Shows You Don’t Have to Be Big to Be Great

Small trucks are experiencing something of a renaissance in the American market. Hyundai is one brand that is currently offering a compact pickup that is ready to fill a variety of automotive roles. While the 2022 Santa Cruz may not have all of the capabilities of a full-size truck, it is still something that is worthy of consideration. Whether you are shopping for a car or compact crossover, this compact pickup has a similar ride while offering the practicality of a truck bed. Plus, it doesn’t mean having to take the fuel economy hit of a traditional truck. 

Is the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz a real truck?

According to Car and Driver, the Santa Cruz concept was first revealed in 2015 as a pickup concept. And while it does utilize unibody construction, it is still capable of doing truck stuff. When properly equipped with the larger engine, this pickup can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

A 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz shows off some off-road prowess as a small truck.
Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

Now, with the base 2.5-liter engine, the 2022 Santa Cruz can only handle 3,500 lbs in tow. But that is still fairly ample considering the size of this vehicle. In comparison, the Santa Cruz’s closest competitor, the 2022 Ford Maverick can only tow 4,000 lbs at its best. 

How many trim levels does the Santa Cruz have?

The Hyundai Santa Cruz is currently offered with four distinct trim levels. Because of that, finding the proper amount of truck for your specific needs should not be a difficult task. The base trim is the Santa Cruz SE and it has a starting MSRP of $24,440. While this may be more expensive than the 2022 Maverick, its interior does feel slightly more refined. 

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai Motor America

The top-trim Hyundai truck has a significantly higher price tag than the base model. If you want to get behind the wheel of the 2022 Santa Cruz Limited, expect to pay over $40,000. This does get you features like a 10.25-inch touchscreen, 360-degree camera, and other safety tech. So, it may be worth it to some. 

Which 2022 Santa Cruz is best?

Perhaps the best value proposition from this compact truck is the SEL Premium trim. This package comes standard with the turbocharged engine that makes 281 horsepower. It even boasts standard all-wheel drive, to give you a pickup that can handle inclement weather and more. 

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz shows off its potential as a small truck
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

The SEL Premium trim does have a price tag of $36,130. But because it comes fairly well-equipped, that may be worth it to some. The tech and style upgrades will help it stand out from other Santa Cruz models without needing to pay for the Limited trim. 

Can the Hyundai Santa Cruz go off-road?

Unlike the Ford Maverick, the Santa Cruz does not have a dedicated off-road package, but through AWD it can handle some light off-roading. In the future, it would be nice to see Hyundai add an off-road package or even a more rugged trim for those who like to adventure. 

It seems like some shoppers are interested in a small truck that is ready for off-road use.

RELATED: 3 Reasons Not to Buy the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz